Sheriff’s Corner: Local help is available for victims of domestic abuse
The month of October is recognized as National Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. This is truly a global issue with its victims walking among us every day.
Domestic abuse is defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault or other abusive behavior as part of a systemic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.
While most of us associate domestic abuse with physical abuse, other forms include psychological and emotional abuse.
It is reported that one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner within their lifetime. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner, which, over a year’s time, equates to 10 million women and men.
Here in Wisconsin, there were 37 domestic abuse homicide incidents during 2018 that resulted in 38 deaths, and yet less than half of all domestic violence incidents are reported to law enforcement. This compares to 40 domestic abuse homicides in 2017 that resulted in 45 deaths.
Sadly, domestic abuse is the number one cause of birth defects — more than all other medical causes combined.
In all of this tragedy, there is good news. We have organizations and individuals working tirelessly to put an end to domestic violence through being the voice of the victims. They are ready to serve as advocates for those who fear to speak for themselves.
In 2018, our very own Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project served 125 women, 24 men and 49 children who were domestic violence victims.
To increase awareness and to support those affected by domestic violence here in Kewaunee County, the Violence Intervention Project will hold a lighting ceremony at Grace Lutheran Church on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. This has become an annual tradition of support and sharing, and all members of the community are welcome to attend.
We will be lighting candles in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence and will be joined by a guest speaker. For more information about this event, contact the Violence Intervention Project at 920-487-2111.
If you know of someone living in an abusive relationship, please encourage them to attend this event. It may be the first step in changing their lives for the better.
More importantly, if you yourself are a victim of domestic abuse, consider taking the time to attend and surround yourself with people who are ready and willing to help you take that first step. This is especially important if you are a parent as you not only have the ability to change your life for the better, but — more importantly — you can change the lives of your children, preventing them from being the next generation of either abusers or victims.
As parents, our primary duty is to our children, and teaching them how to establish and maintain healthy, loving relationships is the greatest obligation we have.
Matt Joski is the Kewaunee County sheriff.
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Sheriff's Corner: Local help is available for victims of domestic abuse